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The Hidden Experiences of Tokyo and Osaka: Insider Tips from Reddit

As sprawling urban landscapes punctuated by traditions and oddities, Tokyo and Osaka offer visitors experiences beyond the iconic temples and bustling shopping districts. Reddit users recently shared some of the hidden gems they discovered in these two cities. Let’s take a deeper look into these recommendations.

Tokyo Experiences

1. Shinjuku Golden Gai: As recommended by user MilkCake1111111, this area offers a distinctive atmosphere with its plethora of tiny Japanese bars. Here, you can savor a Yakiniku meal, grilling your own meat, a classic but enjoyable Japanese experience.

Here are some tips for visiting Shinjuku Golden Gai:

  • Start early. Golden Gai is a popular tourist destination, so it can get crowded later in the evening. If you want to avoid the crowds, start your visit early in the evening.
     
  • Be prepared to walk. The alleyways of Golden Gai are narrow and winding, so be prepared to do some walking.
  • Don’t be afraid to explore. One of the best things about Golden Gai is that each bar is unique. Don’t be afraid to explore and find a bar that you’ll enjoy.
  • Bar hop. One of the best ways to experience Golden Gai is to bar hop. Try a few different bars and see what you like.
  • Talk to the locals. The people in Golden Gai are friendly and welcoming. Don’t be afraid to talk to them and learn about their lives.

2. Tsukiji Fish Market: TheDreadPirateJeff fondly remembers the authentic experience of visiting Tsukiji, where you can find some of the freshest sushi in the world. Notably, the market houses Masamoto Tsukiji, renowned for its high-quality kitchen knives.

3. Gundam Base in Diver City: If you’re a fan of Gundam, this is a must-visit location. Witness the giant Gundam statue parked outside, as recommended by TheDreadPirateJeff.

4. Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building: This might be a little touristy, but it promises fantastic panoramic views of the city.

5. Kusama Museum: uugggghhhhhhhhh suggests this offbeat choice if you enjoy Yayoi Kusama’s work.

6. Pokémon Café: Cannedsashimi talks about the Pokémon café, where you can enjoy a meal while being entertained by dancing Pikachu.

7. Kappabashi Street: For cooking enthusiasts, this street offers a unique opportunity to get your name engraved on Japanese-made knives. Some shops even offer workshops where you can make your own display food.

8. Sento in Nishinari-Ku: Fkatatsu suggests visiting a neighborhood sento (public bathhouse) for a relaxing soak, a quintessential Japanese experience away from the bustling city.

9. Mt. Mitake: According to StarbuckIsland, a train ride from Shinjuku to Ome can lead you to Mt. Mitake, offering a hike to the summit where you can spot the Japanese Serow, a rare species of mountain goat.

10. Factory and Harbor Night Tours: Setagaya-Observer shared the night tours of the factory and harbor zones in Tokyo, Kawasaki, and Yokohama, providing a unique industrial perspective of the city.

Osaka Experiences

1. Cook Your Own Okonomiyaki and Takoyaki: In Osaka, as per MilkCake1111111, there are numerous restaurants where you can enjoy a hands-on culinary experience of making your own Okonomiyaki (Japanese savory pancake) and Takoyaki (octopus balls).

2. Baseball Game: Littlelady89 suggests attending a baseball game in Osaka. The sport is incredibly popular in Japan and promises a unique experience.

3. Silver Ball Planet: As recommended by StarbuckIsland, Silver Ball Planet houses numerous pinball machines and can entertain you for an hour or so.

Day Trips

1. Hakone’s Outdoor Sculpture Museum: A quick escape from Tokyo, Hakone offers an enormous outdoor sculpture museum.

2. Arishiyama’s Monkey Sanctuary: In Kyoto, the monkey sanctuary at Arishiyama offers a break from the temples and cityscape.

3. Nara Deer Park: Spend a day among the friendly deer in Nara.

4. Kobe for Steak: Known for its famous Kobe beef, this city offers a delicious culinary treat.

5. Yamazaki Distillery: Located between Kyoto and Osaka, the Yamazaki Distillery is a must-visit for whiskey lovers, as suggested by Sensitive_Lettuce.

6. Bizen’s Ancient Kilns: For ceramic enthusiasts, the ancient kilns in Bizen, near Kyoto, present a unique opportunity, as suggested by notassigned2023.

7. Takayama and Shirakawa-go: These small towns offer a quieter, more rural Japanese experience, as endorsed by MojoMomma76.

Remember, whether you’re hitting up the major tourist sites or seeking the less-trodden path, each city has its unique charm and experiences to offer. However, it’s often in these hidden experiences that one finds the most memorable and enriching encounters.

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